Sarah K — Days Five and Six

Recovery, as it turns out, is not a straight line.

I am a bit of a math nerd and since I was doing so well out of the gate, I expected my recovery to continue on a straight line, every day marking exponential improvement in my pain, swelling, stiffness and mobility. I even considered digging out my old TI-82 to graph my recovery.

Perhaps this is why I was slightly annoyed by the swelling in my leg. I thought I should be past the swelling stage.

And more annoyed when I woke up stiff on the morning of Day Five.

Angry that I was back to using two crutches to get around my house.

And stunned that the simple exercises they gave me at the hospital were challenging the second time around on Day Five then again the morning of Day Six.

More surprising to me was just how tired I was on Day Five. I had been doing so well, so when friends started texting about coming over for a visit, I thought: Sure. Please come over. It will be so great to see you all and laugh and joke and show off my way cool (actually pretty rank) bandage. But by Sunday afternoon, when the first wave of friends was leaving and the second wave were texting about arrival times, I had to put my (good) foot down. I was exhausted. And unless they wanted to come over and sit quietly and watch me nap, we would have to do this another day.

Day Six I was back to work (from home) and found myself facilitating between tired and antsy. I couldn’t get comfortable, I couldn’t sit still, I couldn’t concentrate, and I couldn’t keep a thought in my head long enough to get up from my makeshift office in the kitchen to crutch to my couch in the living room.

As I sat on my couch, exhausted by the effort and wondering why I needed to come to the couch in the first place my frustration began to feel like failure.

Yep. At Day Six I started to feel like a failure. It is really tough having a Type A personality sometimes.

What helped (and I hope I don’t sound too Pollyanna here) is this blog. Reading the comments from MRS, Julie, Doug and Scott grounded me in a way the doctors and even my mother never could. So thank you all. And thank you Hip Brother Tom for starting this site.

11 thoughts on “Sarah K — Days Five and Six

  1. Glad to hear things are looking up, but how in the world did you decide to return to work so soon? (Unless work is done from home). I was advised to devote a month off and luckily I was able to secure a month off paid. I sure was ready to return to work, butthe month off was great. I just had my 1 year follow up (surgery was March 27, 20130 and I was advised to return in 4 years. Feels fine. I am running 2-3 days a week and have participated in several 5K races. having competed over a wide range of running events over the past almost 40 years I really am in no rush to resume anything approaching higher mileage. Feels good to run and functioning normally. I was advised as well that recovery really is still going on even as far out as 12-18 months after surgery, so be patient! It will all fall into place for you.

  2. Hi Sarah, I read your last few posts about your recovery. I can sympathize with your frustration. But one thing I’ve learned from reading about everyone’s experiences, is that some people seem to recover really fast and others take some time. So hang in there, we’re all cheering for you! I have one question about your swelling. Were you prescribed compression stockings for after the surgery? My surgeon emphasized that I should wear mine for several weeks. I had to have help putting them on for a while and I only tolerated them for maybe two or three weeks. Wore them at least 6-8 hours a day. Luckily, considering the winter weather, I appreciated the extra layer and I didn’t have any of the swelling. But I noticed some other people replied they had swelling too. So I was just wondering if the compression stockings matter at all?

  3. From what i understand, the recovery processes a bit of a rollercoaster and patience is really key. Our bodies have been through a lot. Yesterday a friend of mine said, “Remember…your body has experienced a huge trauma…it doesn’t know the difference between between having been mauled by a tiger and cut open deeply by a surgeon. This is BIG DEAL.” And then I watched a real video of the operation. The reality of what my leg has endured really hit home. I recommend it…if you’re not squeamish. Well, and even if you are 🙂 The reality check is priceless. Here’s a link to one with good narration:

    There are also some “animated” ones that are less bloody. Just do a google or youtube search if you want to find one you can stomach watching. I used the search term “hip replacement video anterior approach narrated”.

    Hang in there! And you really might start considering using the meds occasionally. Remember …no one gets a gold star for being a “tough guy.” Believe me…I’m actually ANTI-pain meds. I’m using them occasionally. I need to. Gotta stay optimistic and at least mentally moving forward to stay sane 🙂

    Wishing you well 🙂

  4. i had two sets of the compression stocking and rotated them. They helped the swelling and worked until you really start to walk. the muscle contraction and flexing pulls the fluid off the leg. So basically they work until you get moving. Sarah, they should have given you clean bandages when you left the hospital, if not have the visiting nurse change the bandage and order supplies for you. Have your mom bring over cling wrap so you can cover the incision and take a shower.

  5. Anissa — I wasn’t prescribed compression socks, but had some I used when running. I put them on yesterday at Doug’s suggestion and I think they helped? I am not as swollen today. As for the bandage, Doug, I have some space age, water-proof thingie that isn’t supposed to come off until Wednesday. And then I am to keep the area uncovered and dry — so thanks for the tip about the cling wrap in the shower. MRS — thanks for the link. I keep reminding myself that my body has been through a lot, but since I don’t actually remember the trauma I needed to watch that video. Now my body and mind are almost on the same page. Also, thank god I don’t remember any of that.

  6. Oh, and Terry, I am working from home. My boss has been awesome throughout this whole process and insists I stay home and rest for as long as necessary. Congrats on your one year anniversary. Good to read about all the running you are doing.

  7. Sarah, If you get the standard cling wrap you will need to us surgical tape to get it to adhere to your leg. tape the sides and the top and leave the bottom open. this is just in case a little moisture gets in. When they take off the clear bandage you will still need to use the cling wrap when taking a shower until the staples come out if not you have glue. they will want you to keep it clean and dry. do not put any creams lotions or antibiotic on the incision. it will be a darker color almost red this is good and it is a sign that it is healing. any discharge (and you will know it) is a sign of infection. are you on Coumadin? I was on it for three months, if not you are in luck. just keep an eye on swelling in your feet. This rain move out of the area you should feel better in the leg and swelling should go down in your knee.

  8. Sarah, I’ve found the swelling and stiffness can be fairly erratic from day to day. Compression hose and ice are your best defense for this. Also like you I filled the narcotic pain med Rx but decided I didn’t want to take it. I have not been in a lot of pain but find I’m more comfortable with a lot less swelling when I stay on scheduled Ibuprofen. You may or may not be able to take it depending on what they put you on for anti-coagulation therapy. I’m only on low dose aspirin twice daily so got the all clear to take it.
    By the way-How do you do that “continue reading” link on the home page??

  9. I am not on Coumadin — just aspirin twice a day. However, I was told I couldn’t take ibuprofen so I have been taking Tylenol fairly regularly. The bandage comes off today and then I get to see what I am dealing with — I don’t have staples, just super glue.

    And yes, Doug, now that the rain has gone away and the sun is shining, the swelling has reduced.

    As for the “continue reading” link on the home page, there is an icon in the visual tool bar next to the spell check button that allows you to insert a continue reading jump.

  10. Sarah, I am glad that you are not on Coumadin, some nasty stuff. with the super glue you have less points for infection as long as everything stayed together which by now you would know. So you are well on your way to recovery. Just make sure you take your aspirin.

  11. Hi, Sarah
    I read your post, You are doing very well. You had to get through such a big operation, trauma. I remember When I was discharged I was very excited , but, 5-6 days later, I was very very tired, A week by week , you will getting stronger. Do not be frustrated ! I needed crutches 2 weeks. of course, people’s recovery is different. but, sure, you will recover soon. hip swell is very normal. icing is the best. I had big hip 2-3 weeks.

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